SXSW is canceled and cash refunds are not available. NBA games are canceled. March Madness is canceled. St. Patrick’s Day parades are canceled. In-person classes at hundreds of universities across the country are canceled.
No more than 250 people can lawfully gather in public. Hotel and airline bookings are spiraling down and down. The stock market is in free fall.
People are sick. People are panicked. As a result of the alarm, grocery stores are being bought out, as people with hoarding tendencies seek to stuff their pantries.
Consumer Spending Accounts for Two-Thirds of the American Economy
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Or, it once did.
It’s going to be hard to sustain these figures when people can’t or won’t leave home. Any business that relies on people gather in crowds—malls, restaurants, hotels, concerts, movie theaters, sporting events, and conferences—is in deep jeopardy at the moment. Many might weather a month of lost revenue, but if it goes longer than a month, the out-of-business notices will spread as fast as the virus.
The implications for the American and global economy, and workers everywhere, are potentially devastating.
In the Meantime, Ad Peeps Are Zoomin’
Many professional people who have not worked from home for an extended period before, including thousands of advertising professionals, are giving it a try.
WPP is now allowing all ~130,000 employees around the world to work remotely if they are uncomfortable coming into the office. https://t.co/A0w2W1Nyc4
— Patrick Coffee (@PatrickCoffee) March 12, 2020
How will ad people working from home impact productivity? How will it impact profitability?
It may seem crass to put forward economic concerns when people are sick and dying from a disease we don’t have any protection against. Maybe it is crass, but the economic hit is a reality that we’re all facing.
In the midst of this global pandemic, the need to hold our businesses together is a high priority too. Poverty from unemployment is an added complication that no one wants or needs.
Where Are the Public Service Announcements?
People who work in advertising and media have a role to play in arresting the spread of contagion.
Ad people are the nation’s most skilled short-form communicators, and the need for Public Service Announcements is high, right now. The best minds and biggest hearts in this business can make commercials that show people how to wash their hands, how to not shake hands, and so on.